I awoke at two in the morning and made my way downtown. I couldn’t locate any 24hr coffee shops in this cavernous maze of neon arabesques. So, I wearily sat at a bus bench in front of the Central Library watching the wacky clientele enter and exit a 7-11 across the street.
Skanky Latina clomps up and stands next to me at the bus stop. Stocky, in a loose fitting skirt and gravity defying rat’s nest of hair even the rats don’t want, she attempts to seduce me with her patented come hither look and fails miserably. Abruptly, she issues a rather moist sounding fart.
"Is that your mating call?" I quip.
She mumbles something in Spanish. I ignore her. Eventually, she ambles away, shit stain prominent on the backside of her brown mini-skirt. Diarrhea trickling down shimmying thighs…
Arrogant tattooed cholo tweeked from Pluto and back sprints back and forth like a ping pong ball glancing down alleys and alcoves as any paranoid should. Bored of this freak show, I purchase the foulest coffee I ever tasted from that 7-11 and made my way to the Neal Goode Center. Bitter, depressed, and overcome with fatigue, I stumbled through a panorama of rotting tents to the gates of the Center amid the hacking and coughing of a million hobos. Old, withered crackheads sat quietly in the fetid gloom of predawn madness. Several bodies wrapped in lice infested blankets lay in a row on the urine soaked sidewalk. Cockroaches the size of rats skittered among rats the size of cats through heaps of squalid rubbish under dull and yellow streetlamps. Cracked out phantoms soundlessly lurked down that sad street of broken dreams and strangulated nostalgia as I squat on an electrical box straining not to vomit from the overpowering bouquet of human waste.
At six, the gates were open and my ID was taken. I was then asked to wait out in the patio until the office opened at 7:30. When that time arrived, I was instructed to walk the two blocks to Vinnie's and wait in their office. Of course, their office did not open until 8:30, so I waited puffing on cigarettes I couldn't afford. At 8:30, asked to wait on a bench for a caseworker. Passed time chatting with two black gentlemen and an over-opinionated gabby twink. Ushered into the caseworker’s office and interviewed, they asked random questions.
Her: “Do you suffer from any mental issues?”
Me: “Lady, I’m nuttier than squirrel shit.”
Things seemed to be progressing until they stated they needed an award letter for my disability. Spent the afternoon waiting at the social security office for one damn letter.
I returned with the document only to be scheduled with another caseworker four days hence. Fuck! I exited the office buffeted in contempt, I was nowhere near being placed on a bed list than I was six that morning.
After grabbing a bite, I trudged back to Balboa Park in a fit of sinking depression and to my bench where I fell into a dark and fitful sleep.
...cold stars twinkle down on me from a dark navy sky...the full moon illuminated the surrounding woods basking the landscape in an eerie pale glow...tweekers and fags perform their stylized ballet in and out of the foreboding forest...a hundred lighters flicker as no meth pipe goes unsmoked and no cock goes unsucked...the night progresses and it becomes cold, cold, cold...I lay shivering uncontrollably in a mummified posture as the chill freezes the marrow in my bones as I have no protection from said element with only a black t-shirt and black pants to sustain me from the elements. My shoes have worn out and my feet sore and inflamed. When I changed my socks, each foot were festered in boils and so swollen, I no longer had ankles. Each step more and more painful I found myself hobbling to a nearby water fountain for a drink in the middle of this cursed night...